Friday, March 18, 2011

The Minor Prophets giving you minor fits?

The books of the minor prophets we have been reading lately in the 2011 Redeemer Reading Plan can easily give the impression that God is in a terribly sour mood and the Israelites just can't do anything right for Him. However, these prophets aren't just writing about a divine temper tantrum. Perhaps a little context would shed some light here. First, lets make note of when these prophets are writing:

Amos: "when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel"
Hosea: "during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel"
Micah: "during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah"

So even though these books appear at the very end of the Old Testament, they are actually happening simultaneously with the latter half of the book of 2nd Kings (way back in the front half of the book). We should notice that in sending a slew of prophets foretelling doom all at the same time during the same rulers, God is sending some serious warning flares to Israel that things are not right. And in fact, things were not right. Just read 2nd Kings 14:23-15:31 and you will get the idea, the Israelite kings were in a continual state of decay. So God sends all of these prophets at the same time as a last ditch effort to stir up repentance in the Israelites (kind of like Jonah did with the Ninevites). But it does not work.

So in 2nd Kings 17, the whole chapter details the end result, God finally allows the pagan nation of Assyria to defeat, capture, and exile the Israelites. So if you feel like God is being a incorrigible meanie, perhaps a little context brings this into the proper light!

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